People Sanjeev has his finger in every possible musical pie and believes as long as the music is good, it doesn't matter what kind of music you do
H is comfort in the leather jacket, gait that can only be described as a swagger, and bleached hair is all testimony to the early start he had. Sanjeev started learning guitar at eight and although he never thought he could be a full-time musician, it took college and institutional discipline for him to realise he had no choice but to be a full-time musician. “I started doing music professionally but it was obvious that I would not be able to survive the field with what I was doing, so I expanded into production,” narrates Sanjeev in calm, even tones.
Sanjeev was in town for the Coke Studio @ MTV performance which was taking place at the Hard Rock Café in Bangalore. Having had the honour of working with A.R. Rahman, he says, “The best thing about working with A.R., besides the fact that it is A.R. is that he gives you time and freedom to do your own thing. Also as an artist I have found that I challenge myself a lot more and push myself when I'm working with him. Besides he has great musicians and technicians, so you're working with the best the industry can offer and with some incredibly talented people.”
Sanjeev has his hand in every musical pie and which is why he claims that he is still finding himself as an artist. “I do too many things, there is the band, sessions, production and everything together is just confusing. I want to create a balance between my independent work and my commercial work, but I don't know how yet. It would be good if I could find that balance and make it commercially viable. I would love if I could make a career out of my independent work but in the 10 years I have been a full time musician not a single record label has approached me,” says Sanjeev.
The pragmatic musician does not make out mainstream music and the commerce involved to be a wholly evil. “It is actually not a bad thing and in fact it opened me into other genres of music. Even on my album, the music is very varied, with many genres and different styles. As long as the music is good, it doesn't matter what kind of music you do, and I don't regret getting into mainstream music, it has given me exposure and opportunities.”
Sanjeev who has also been a key performer at Coke Studio in its first season in India calls the show a phenomenon that is going to herald a sea of change in music. “This is a presentation of collaborations, where many artists come together and create something new and package traditional music in a contemporary format. It is a great platform for independent and folk music,” he says.
According to Sanjeev as long as he is creating music, his style is going to be there, “I love collaborating with different musicians, working with different people and their styles and making it work, I find it very exciting. There is no dilution, if anything my personal style is enhanced when I collaborate with other musicians.”
With Sanjeev the experience of creating music goes beyond the music itself, “The people I work with make it exciting. I enjoy meeting people and finding out where they come from, their backgrounds, and what inspires them. Music brings us together and there are so many more humane emotions that are shared. When you connect with the people you are working with you create an expression with your music – an expression that has a heart.”
CATHERINE RHEA ROY